Are healthcare regulators softening their fitness to practise stance to support the fight against Covid-19? 

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has allowed suspended nurses to return to practice to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

It has been reported that the NMC allowed four suspended nurses to return to practice and identified 12 further cases where registrants were originally suspended on public interest grounds only, and where no risk to patient safety was found. 

The NMC said independent panels were reviewing the cases to establish whether reduced sanctions would be appropriate, to allow individuals to return to practice ‘where safe to do so’.  

NMC deputy director of professional regulation Clare Strickland is reported to have said: “As part of this, we have been able to identify a small number of cases where a sanction was imposed on public interest grounds only, and where no risk to patient safety was found. 

“In some of these cases, our independent panels have carried out a review of the original sanction – alongside additional information provided by the registrant or their representative – to consider whether a new sanction is now appropriate so that individuals can return to practice where it is safe to do so. 

“As always, panel decisions will be reviewed by our usual quality assurance process.”

Contextual factors in Fitness to Practise

The NMC has been leading the debate about the importance of context in fitness to practise investigations and sanctions. For example:

  1. Contextual factors in Fitness to Practise
  2. Context of incidents in NMC fitness to practise proceedings
  3. NMC consider “context” in fitness to practise cases

Although they have led the debate, all the other healthcare regulators have supported a joint statement on how they will regulate during the current pandemic. The joint statement supports the importance of context in fitness to practise in so far as it relates to clinical decisions and judgements in the context of Covid-19.

The NMC’s approach is the practical outworking of the commitment to understand the context of the issues facing healthcare at the moment. I am not commenting on whether this approach is the right one or not, but making the point that healthcare regulators appear to be standing by its commitment.

Clearly decisions concerning prematurely terminating fitness to practise sanctions should be taken with great care to ensure public safety is not adversely affected as a consequence.

If you are subject to any fitness to practise investigation or sanction, please contact me for a free assessment of your case.

OY

Using a Barrister was a first time experience for us, and Stephen explained everything in a polite, non-patronising manner and always showed us the full extent of his knowledge.

RG

I would just like to express my sincere thanks to Catherine Stock who was absolutely amazing on how she handled my NMC case for Restoration to Nursing.

DS

Catherine Stock represent me in a NMC Case with great excellence and expertise showing great empathy, compassion and understanding.

FPT

Honesty. Integrity. Transparency and Partnership with you in a time of great need is what Kings View Chambers Catherine Stock & Steven McCaffery extended towards me as a professional nurse.

LC

Both Stephen and Catherine from the outset have been approachable, knowledgable and are without question extremely competent professionals and experts in their field.

Kings View Chambers

Founded in 2014 by Stephen McCaffrey and Catherine Stock, Kings View Chambers seeks to address the failings in traditional chambers and establish a new and better way for barristers to work.

Specialist healthcare and medical regulation defence barristers dealing with all fitness to practise matters before:

 

Are you a healthcare professional with a fitness to practise issue?

Speak to a expert defence barrister today for a free, no obligation case assessment.

Well prepared and reassuring…. most definitely would recommend them if you ever have an issue with the NMC.

AF in NMC case